Maguvhe 'mollycoddled' Hlaudi - former SABC board member

2016-12-08 21:29
Hlaudi Motsoeneng. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla)

Hlaudi Motsoeneng. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla)

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Cape Town - Former SABC board member Vusi Mavuso says group executive of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng's relationship with board chairpersons down the years undermined the various CEOs.

Mavuso was testifying under oath before Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC board on Thursday.

The former board member told MPs how Motsoeneng's relationships with current chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe and former chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane compromised the work of the board and its CEO.

"The current chairperson mollycoddled some of the executives, especially the then acting chief operating officer. That was problematic.

"There's been a common thread. And the common denominator has been one person: Mr Motsoeneng.

"It led to a case where the group CEO's position was constantly undermined."

He was referring to former group CEO Lulama Mokhobo, who left the broadcaster in 2014 citing bad treatment from the executives as a reason.

Mokhobo testified earlier on Thursday, and spoke of a situation in which there had been two "centres" of power on the SABC board, despite her mandate to lead change at the broadcaster.

Next board must look at relationships

Mavuso said the relationships between executives and chairpersons needs to be attended to quickly under the next board.

"Before I became a member I was quite aware of some of the dynamics on the board prior to the one I was on.

"It was quite evident that there were quite a number of problems under the chairpersonship of Dr Ngubane."

He described how meetings were arranged outside scheduled board meetings.

The body language between executives and board members was also "inappropriate", he said.

"Just by way of illustration, the first point of call of any organisation will be the CEO. I do believe the relationship between the CEO and board is quite important.

"Some of the board members would go directly to members of the executive without going through the CEO. It does suggest that something untoward is happening."

He said the SABC had improved financially for two years under Mokhobo and she deserved credit for her work despite the difficult work environment.

'You need to be mad to work on SABC board'

Mavuso spoke of how many of his complaints had fallen on deaf ears when approaching the chairperson or other members of the board since joining in February 2013.

He also said he was not alone.

"There were others who expressed their minority views. Those former board members include Professor Bongani Khumalo, Krish Naidoo, Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalinda, Hope Zinde and Thembinkosi Bonakele."

He said the SABC board was "not a normal board".

"At a normal institution [many of these things] would not have been a problem."

No fewer than 11 executives have been kicked out "unceremoniously" during his time.

ANC MP Fezeka Loliwe was asked why he did not quit sooner during his three-year stay as a board member, given his seemingly principled character.

"Honourable member, I'm not a quitter. I believe in fighting until sanity prevails.

"But in this instance, I think I became insane as well. It reached a point where it was just too much."

You require a certain level of madness to work on the SABC board, he added.

Mavuso resigned publicly from the board on October 5, along with Krish Naidoo, during a sitting of Parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

Read more on:    sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  media

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